Save + Misbehave

You’re Just Projecting

450Randy and Jason Sklar, better known as the Sklar Brothers, even better known as the hosts of the only ESPN Classic show I’ve ever watched on a regular basis—Cheap Seatsand possibly best known as the Cain and Abel of Hollywood agents in HBO’s Entourage, got their comedic starts amidst the burgeoning “alternative” comedy scene of mid-90’s New York. Back then and over there, such now-defunct clubs as the famous Luna Lounge used to hold regular open-mic nights, where names like Marc Maron, Greg Fitzsimmons, Louis CK, Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, and many, many more once tuned their respective crafts. The Sklars didn’t immediately fit in. In fact, they stood out, and in a bad way. They’re identical twins, which, in the eyes of the comedy club weary, was synonymous with hacky—not far off from ventriloquism, as both shticks tended to traditionally rely on the straight-man/wacky-man dynamic. In interviews, Randy and Jason have talked about their initial struggle against this assumption, not so much with their audiences as within their act. They had to work hard to eventually to find their patented rhythm of completing one another’s sentences, riffing on topics the other brings up, never disowning their uncanny likeness, yet never relying on it either. Basically, they had to find their true collective self, a feat which simply would not have been possible without the open-mic.

These days, the Sklars still perform almost everywhere in Los Angeles, but have also transitioned into the world of film and television, an industry with lots of microphones (as well as projectors, the mic’s visual equivalent), few of which are “open,” almost none of which are free.  Hence, “Open Projector Night,” hosted by Randy and Jason Sklar, this Tuesday, August 17, 8:00 PM at the Hammer Museum. Free popcorn, cash bar, and a first-come-first-serve policy for any under-ten-minute film or video out there, these semi-regular nights have developed a reputation for rowdiness, rudeness, and yes, even the occasional cinematic gem. Come screen-test your private masterpiece (submissions begin at 7 PM), or just support your local filmmakers by getting drunk and voting them off the docket completely.

The Sklar Brothers, more than most, know what its like to struggle for an identity, and they’ve kind of made an on-screen career out of it (not to mention, paved the way for stellar teams like the Walsh Brothers). So if you’re tired of being constantly confused for someone you’re not, of having to dress different to stick out, of explaining the subtle yet imperative dissimilarities between you and that other idiot, just leave it in the hands of Sklars. They may not love your work, they may make some clever jokes at your expense, but they’ll at least give you a mic.

For  more information about “Open Projector Night” and Hammer Public Programs (all of which are free), please visit www.hammer.ucla.edu, or call 310.443.7000.

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photoAfter unknowingly attempting to attend a film during the release of the new TwilightSaga movie, Eclipse at the Arclight in Hollywood last night I was shocked to find the parking garage closed with a sign saying “full”. Aggravated in disbelief, I turned around to head home, and noticed a metered spot had just become available outside the theatre. I swerved into the space, scooped my sweater out the back seat and went to read the meter only to find that it is now $3.00 an hour to park in Hollywood (or 5 minutes a quarter). I took off to try to make the film only to discover the prices at the Arclight had gone up again.

In a town where change is omnipresent and the increase of day-to-day expenses make us feel we are in New York, there are less and less opportunities to experience the arts on a budget (did I mention the yellow plastic sunglasses in a 3-D film that will cost you your Popcorn and Diet Coke?) However, there is a beacon of hope nestled in the heart of Century City beneath the towering buildings that won’t cost you a penny and is sure to blow your socks off without wearing any yellow sunglasses.

The Annenberg Space for Photography, which has been open for a little over a year now, is as much an experience wandering through the curvy, camera-shaped building as it is seeing the photographs inside. Much more than just a traditional display area for prints, the digital projection gallery has two 7’x14’ seamless glass screens with real-projection imaging systems that exceed the level of image quality offered by Blu-Ray players. Watching photographs appear and fade with this caliber of stunning clarity and saturation paired with surround sound music will make your eyes and ears meld into one – taking the photographic image to the next level.

For the second year runningArclight the Annenberg Space for Photography is proud to host ‘Pictures of the Year’, a collection of the most outstanding documentary photography from 2009, recognized by Pictures of the Year International (POYi). With over 45,000 entries submitted from all over the world, the show is a pure visual story that explores humanity far beyond the greatest headline stories of 2009. Held for 65 years in Missouri, Los Angeles is fortunate to have the 67th annual exhibit return after it’s west coast debut last year.

With so many photographic stories being covered, the show is broken into four Categories: The United States War and Economy, The Human Experience, Ecologies and Economies, and The Globe. What makes the Annenberg Space for Photography unique is the digital features that play in the projection gallery. No longer is photography just a printed subject in a frame, but a visual story being told in a cinematic way, giving the viewer a greater insight to what is occurring inside the frame.                                                                                    67-CAA-01-SincS-A-01                    Be sure not to miss Stephanie Sinclair’sPolygamy in America” about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) community in Eldorado, Texas. Also, Kitra Cahana’s portraits of teenage runaways who gather once a year in a different American national park are sure to drop your jaw.

Every now and then we come across photographs online or in magazines and newspapers that we cannot escape – they stick with us and often become permanent representations of a time or place. The images from ‘Pictures of the Year” may only exist for one moment but can last a lifetime. And that’s totally worth a free admission.

- By Gray Malin

The exhibit runs through October 10th and more information can be found on the Annenberg website, http://www.annenbergspaceforphotography.org/. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday 11:00-6:00pm.

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Save and Misbehave: Amateurs to Auteurs

9780446550277There are some people who can’t see a film without unleashing their inner critic.  So long as they’re not doing it in your ear during the film, there’s nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism. Studying up on film and all that goes into it can help those critics sound less like Randy Jackson on “American Idol” and more like Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers.  Neil Landau’s book, 101 Things I Learned in Film School is just the kind of thing you need to get up to speed so that your judging the mise-en-scene and the juxtaposition as opposed to the Cameron Diaz’ comedic timing.

Landau will be signing and reading from his book at Book Soup in West Hollywood on Thursday night, giving you a crash course in everything from camera angles to getting financing.  Landau is a screenwriter whose credits include Doogie Howser MD and Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. We know what you’re thinking, but this book is chock full of actual advice and lessons learned.  In Los Angeles, its smart to know these things even if you work in an entirely different business – it’ll help your client base as a dentist, for example, if you can ask a producer how his or her premiere went or what the latest box office numbers were.  It’s all about the universal language of film.

Neil Landau will be signing and reading from 101 Things I Learned in Film School on Thursday, May 27 at 7pm for FREE.  For more information, please click here.

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SAVE + MISBEHAVE: CalArts Get Free!

Along with the mild spike in sunshine this past few weeks, some of you may have noticed another influx in your area: college students, running free, wild, and naked in the streets. Spring break! Five days of release from the shackles of schooldom. Freedom. Monday, though, brought the party to an end, and students across the city are settling back in and setting their eyes on the home stretch. For Art and Photography/Media Graduate students at CalArts, though, the “home stretch” means one thing: running free, wild, naked in the streets. That’s right, folks—it’s time for the CalArts MFA Open Studios.
On Sunday, April 11th, from 2:00 to 7:00pm, more than 60 artists studying at the California Institute for the Arts will open their studios to the public. Each artist will be present and light refreshments will be provided—a great opportunity to hobnob with some of the city’s most promising creative minds. Or to just get some free food and look at cool stuff. It’s free of charge, free of pretense, clothing optional. Freedom!

By Helen Kearns

Please visit the website for directions and artist information. Reservations not required.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Festival, Film, Food & Drink, Galleries, Installation, Mixed media, Neighborhoods, Painting, Performance, Personalities, Photography, Save + Misbehave, The Social Scene, Video Art No Comments »

Moving Images

TheSecondsPass_WrongWayRyderEver wonder what happened to Ed Templeton?  That professional skateboarder turned internationally renowned artist, photographer, D.I.Y. innovator, entrepreneur, ‘Beautiful Loser,’ and book publisher?  Well if you haven’t, then Ed Templeton has.

His eclectic career as both a skater and an artist has always seemed to be about his own relationship to time and motion.  In his famous photography book, Teenage Smokers, for instance, each medium to close-up image of a young person with a cigarette has the feeling of personal impermanence, like a flash-memory of a kid you might have seen at the mall once when you were nine.

Templeton, especially in his most recent work, seems to be obsessed with these fragile, ephemeral moments, and what they might mean.  His 2008 book, Deformer, which took him 11 years to complete, examines his youth growing up in the ultra-conservative suburban “incubator” of Orange County, using childhood letters, notes, photographs, sketches, and paintings to tell his story with as much physical accuracy as possible—even if it’s all long gone.

His latest photography show, The Seconds Pass, at the Roberts and Tilton Gallery in Culver City once again has Templeton on the move.  These thirty-some separate collages of pictures, mostly all taken from the vantage point of a moving vehicle, attempt to capture exactly where he’s been these last few years, so as not to miss a passing second.

Ed Templeton’s The Seconds Pass can be viewed at the Roberts and Tilton Gallery in Culver City until April 3.  Roberts and Tilton is located at 5801 Washinton Blvd.  For more information, please call (323) 549-0223, or visit www.robertsandtilton.com.

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The ‘It’s Not To You’ Syndrome

I recently found myself sitting on a couch in a dark room inside the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts at USC watching a play-test of a brand-new interactive video game.  I use the term ‘interactive,’ because it was less like your typical Nintendo or PlayStation proceeding, and more akin to one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ movies, only digitalized, intricately detailed, and not a little influenced by the likes of Spielberg or Christopher Nolan.  The game takes place in a slightly futuristic society, and at one point, the protagonist, a detective, is sitting in his beat-down, windowless office going over clues, when he puts on a pair of special sunglasses.  These sunglasses allow him, and by proxy, us, the audience, to perceive his spacial environment as a pristine mountain-top, or a Redwood forest.  The effect is novel, and provokes a round of ‘wouldn’t-that-be-cool’ comments from anybody who’s watching, yet it also brings up an interesting, modern phenomenon.  I call it the ‘it’s not to you’ syndrome, and it works like this: you’re sitting in a beat-down, windowless office, but…it’s not to you.

Don’t get me wrong, this syndrome is hardly new or original, although it is intensifying in our digital age.  And one person who’s exploring this intensification is artist Jeffrey Wells with his newest exhibit Seeing While Seeing at the Bergamont Station Arts Center, a part of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.  Wells attempts to recreate the optical illusions of everyday life—the after-image of an exit sign, the undulating intersection of two vertical walls that meet at a right-angle—using video projections.  Thus the viewer is left questioning whether or not an illusion is physical or digital.  Both are percepts, separate from what some would call “objective reality,” but only one is an intentionally manipulated percept.

What Wells—along with the interactive video game, to a certain extent—may be attempting to illustrate is the danger of the ‘it’s not to you’ syndrome.  Because how do you really know what is?  Or who’s presenting what to you, for that matter?  And as the line between what is and what is to you gets smaller and smaller, what becomes of you?

Jeffrey Wells’s Seeing While Seeing is on view until April 17th at Project Room 1 in the Bergamont Station Arts Center, a part of the Santa Monica Museum of Arts.  Bergamont Station is located at 2525 Michigan Ave, Building G-1.  For more information, please call (310) 586-6488, or visit www.smmoa.org.

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Indie Dreams at LeBasse Projects

We all dream in our own style – some of us have dreams of grandiose places, some have anxiety dreams about some upcoming event, and the lucky ones have kinky dreams.  It often takes more than just looking at someone to work out what their dreams might look like.  But, and I’m really generalizing here, I have a feeling that the two artists currently on view at LeBasse Projects in Culver City have got the wonderfully indie dreams of film favorites like, say, Ellen Page or Michael Cera down.

On one hand, Scott Belcastro’s exhibit, called “Chasing the Last Glimpse of Light,” is full of paintings (somewhat big, acrylic paintings) that show a sort of Where The Wild Things Are existence with fuzzy mountains, a red menacing sky, and a lone reindeer beneath the stars.  He has a simplistic painting style with colors that are more muted than vibrant – the paintings are ultimately a delicate view of the wild and twisted world we live in.

Then, there’s Linda Kim and her exhibit, “A Light Within.”  The two painters easily complement each other – her style has a similarly minimalist, yet dreamlike quality with animals making their way through the mist or sleeping beneath an intensely blue sky.  The immediate difference between those two is actually their use of color.  Where Kim employs color blocking techniques and a more diverse and concentrated use of hues, Belcastro seems to want you to wander through his world with a more fragile touch.  Kim also presents her work on little wood “houses” – which really make you wish you could crawl inside and lay down.  You’d probably have some pretty crazy dreams in there.

Scott Belcastro and Linda Kim’s works will be on display at LeBasse Projects through January 2010.  For more information, please call (310) 558-0200 or click here.

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Save and Misbehave: West Hollywood Book Fair

For some reason, people who hail from the East Coast are always a little too surprised to hear that we Angelenos actually read.  They’re of the belief that the only people who read in this city are the ones writing script coverage.  Au contraire, we say!  Prove each naysayer wrong this weekend at the West Hollywood Book Fair.

There will be pavilions for Mystery and Suspense, Fiction, Politics, Sci-Fi and more proving that not only do we read, but our tastes run the gamut.  You’ll find there’s much to learn from the various stages set up in at Book Fair, which can be found between Robertson and San Vicente Boulevards and between Santa Monica and Melrose.  Up on stage you will run into Niki Lee setting Dorothy Parker’s poetry to music, Norman Ollestad will be waiting for you in the Fact, Fiction, and Future Pavilion, while Edward Humes will be lecturing listeners about environmentalism, and Reza Aslan will have tons to say about art, politics, and the Arab-Muslim world.

With special guests, book signings, a children’s area, a “green room” with food from Pavilions and Urth Caffe, and all the lectures and performances you can imagine, the day will be fun-filled and quite exhausting.  All that reading really takes it out of you – we suggest a relaxing Saturday evening at the movies.

West Hollywood Book Fair is Saturday, October 3 from 10am – 6pm.  The borders are Santa Monica Blvd. (north), Robertson Blvd. (west), San Vicente Blvd. (east), and Melrose (south).  For more information, please click here.  AND for information on the free parking shuttle, please click here. 

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Save and Misbehave: Kid’s Edition at MOCA!

As kids all over town head back to school for yet another year of bad influences, second guessing themselves, and melodramas (er… I mean math, history, and arts classes), we can all agree that they could use some confidence in their choices and at the very least some interesting stories to answer the question “what did you do this summer?” This Sunday (and every first Sunday of the month) at MOCA is the “For Families” workshop.  This month, you’ll join a guided tour of their Collecting History: Recent Acquisitions exhibit and discover a range of artists working with a variety of media.  Afterward, you (and the child you’ve brought) will be able to express your own creativity with a workshop with Megan Sant where you can make your own sculptural project. It starts at 1pm and is FREE, with no reservations required.  Think of how confident they’ll be heading back to class and telling their friends about the textural composition in Eduardo Abaroa’s work!

If you’ve got a teen who is perpetually embarrassed to be seen with (God forbid) an actual family member, they’re free to drop by with their friends between 1 – 3:30pm for their own guided tour and an artist-led workshop.  Their sculptures, unlike the little kids than came before them, will be filled with the important dramas of teenage angst to be sure.  Ah, to be a family!

“First Sundays are For Families” Workshop is held this Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 1:00pm for free.  They’re held the first Sunday of every month.  For more information, please click here.

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Save and Misbehave: Lights on L.A.

Every year in every city, starting around Halloween, lights become a free and instant mood-enhancer catching your eye everywhere you look.  Between New Years Eve and Halloween, however, all the dazzling lights are taken down and put away.  To tide you over until October is Lights on LA – an event on display now through September 15 in Pershing Square in Downtown LA… for free! 

An event that celebrates LA-based artists was organized by Tarryn Teresa Gallery and features a creative scene of individually decorated light bulbs strung up in a temporary exhibit.  It was coordinated to enhance the area’s free summer concert series and each evening, as the street lamps are turned on, the light bulbs start to dazzle.  Finally, a romantic, interesting, lit path to walk on after one a Pershing Square summer concert or after a romantic, interesting, dazzling dinner nearby.  Think of all the possibilities! Head downtown, choose your favorite, and send us a photo of it – we’d especially love photos of you with your favorite light bulb. 

Lights on LA ends September 18, 2009 and coincides with Pershing Square’s summer concert series (also free).  For more information, please call (213) 627-5100.

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